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One Held, One Sought on I.D. Theft

Police have linked an Anaheim woman and her ex-husband to the theft of 60 documents used to apply for credit cards.

March 29, 2001|MAI TRAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

An Anaheim woman was arrested after she and her ex-husband allegedly stole more than 60 identification documents and used them to apply for credit cards during a three-year identity-theft scheme, police said Wednesday.

Deborah Lee Redmond, 49, was being held at the Orange County Jail on suspicion of theft of identities and receiving stolen property. A $100,000 warrant was issued for the arrest of her former husband, Dennis Bruce Nickell, 54, of Anaheim.

Police are still investigating and have not determined the amount of the loss.

The scam began in late 1998 when the pair stole tenants' rental files from an Anaheim apartment complex where Redmond worked as office manager, police said. The files contained copies of drivers' licenses, Social Security numbers and other personal informa

tion.

Nickell, meanwhile, posed as a prospective tenant and visited model apartments in complexes in Irvine and Costa Mesa, said investigator Damon Tucker. Nickell would have victims' utility bills transferred to the apartments, and he would use the documents as proof of residence when he applied for credit cards in their name, Tucker said.

Then he would pry open the mailbox to get the credit cards.

Nickell used five mailboxes in Irvine and Costa Mesa, according to police.

"The suspect was really, really good at what he did," Tucker said. "He's sophisticated and very difficult to track down."

Redmond was arrested Thursday after police found tenant files during a search of the home she shared with Nickell, who was not home.

A break came in November when a man reported to police he wasn't receiving his mail, according to Tucker. Around that time, the manager of an Irvine complex Nickell used as a mail drop told police the mailboxes were being broken into.

Police connected the two when they discovered the victim's mail was being forwarded to the Irvine address, Tucker said.

Nickell is described as white, 5 feet 11 inches, weighing 150 pounds, and having white hair and blue eyes. He was last seen driving a maroon 1998 Nissan Sentra with license plate 4CLT637.

Anyone with information is urged to call Tucker at (949) 724-7183.

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